How to go camping with toddlers, without losing your mind!
If the question of how to go camping with toddlers sends you into a spiral of doom and has you backtracking on plans – don’t panic! A little planning and ingenuity here and there and you’ll be #makingmemories with the Instafamilies like an old seasoned pro.
This short guide is mainly for camping on commercial campsites with facilities like showers, washing machines and shops. We will leave the tips for wild camping with toddlers for another blog post.
As well as the practical things, which we have outlined below, the main thing is to let go of your routine and go with the flow. It can be impossible to get some toddlers to sleep in a tent. Others will fall asleep at their usual bedtime. No one is going to have a good time if you try to stick to what you do with them at home. Get outside, enjoy the fresh air, build dams, play ball games, explore everywhere and hopefully, at the end of the day they will be so tired they’ll fall asleep quickly and soundly.
We took our daughter on her first camping trip when she was 3 months old. It was April, in Pembrokeshire and minus 2 at night with 40mph winds, it also happened to be the first time she had slept for longer than 5 hours straight. I gave up there and then trying to predict anything she would ever do again!
When deciding on how to go camping with toddlers you should also consider when.
If you don’t have any other school aged kids then make the most of the fact that you can go camping out of season. The prices are cheaper & the campsites are quieter. The weather in May and September is often glorious in the UK when compared to the curse of the summer holidays, however, the nights can be seriously chilly still so a little extra planning is needed.
Buy suitable gear for the kids as well as yourselves. Kids base layers are great for the day and night, if you can afford merino wool this doesn’t need washing as often as sythetic fibers and is super comfy to sleep in and it will help regulate their temperature.
A zip up grow bag is usually preferable to a sleeping bag as they stay in place. If your child is very young its worth sleeping in the same space as them so you can check their temperature in the night. Another great option is to put a sheepskin or a foam matress underneath them at night, this is much better at keeping you warm than an air bed. You can get foam cut to size but its pretty bulky so only really an option if you have loads of room in the car!
What to bring when camping with toddlers
This is really going to depend on your indvidual child and no two kids are alike. Its a good idea to consider the following questions and come up with a few plans to deal with any issues that could arise:
- Does your child still wake at night? You may want to make sure they have a couple of familiar toys or comforters to help resettle them in unfamiliar surroundings.
- Is your child dry at night? You may want extra blankets / changes of clothes in case of accidents. It is also perfectly acceptable to pee in a pot if you can’t be bothered to walk to the toilet block or its too cold to go outside 🙂
- Is your child easily bored? Have some games prepared, you could print off some outdoor activities such as scavenger hunts or nature trails.
- Whats you budget? You may not want to fork out money for tourist attractions so think ahead what you can do on a rainy day. We say get togged up and get outside, look for waterfalls and splash in puddles. A beach on a rainy day is totally different and will hold more memories that a cartoon character filled land of sweets!
Stop looking for lists on how to go camping with toddlers and just do it…
You can search for endless lists on what to take with you when camping with your toddler but it is really individual and genuinely personal. It depends on experience as well as preference.
When deciding on how to go camping with toddlers just make sure you can keep them warm and dry – in between getting muddy and wet – fed and entertained and thats really all there is to it.
There will be laughter and tears and your routine will go out the window. Its a given that you’ll wonder why you bothered at times. One thing is for sure, there is something special about setting up home, on a little bit of grass, under a bit of flappy canvas somewhere and surviving together as a family.
Please share your toddler camping stories, we love to hear all your stories good and bad!!
Team Sweet x